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Web Aggregators in Financial Services - UK - July 2011

In this report, Mintel examines the way in which consumers research financial products, and the role that comparison sites play in this research process. The number and type of financial products that they buy through aggregators is assessed, and Mintel highlights what they look for in these sites. Extensive research into how consumers perceive the leading brands in the market identifies the individual sites’ strengths and weaknesses. Consumers’ attitudes towards the sector as a whole are examined, highlighting ways in which sites can help build the differentiation that is currently lacking.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Abbreviations
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Price-comparison sites now the primary source of financial information
              • Figure 1: Sources of information used to research financial products, April 2011
            • A fifth have researched at least seven products through aggregators…
              • Figure 2: Repertoire of aggregator usage for research, April 2011
            • …and most internet users have bought at least one product through the sites
              • Figure 3: Repertoire of aggregator usage for purchase, April 2011
            • Companies, brands and innovation
              • Four sites dominate the market
                • Figure 4: Unique visitor numbers to key aggregator sites, year to April 2011
              • Little differentiation, but moneysupermarket.com leads on trust
                • Figure 5: Attitudes towards and usage of price-comparison website brands, February 2011
              • Key factors when using comparison sites
                • Price still dominates – but not at the expense of cover
                  • Figure 6: Key factors when using aggregator sites to arrange insurance, April 2011
                • The consumer
                  • Most internet users think aggregators offer a valuable service
                    • Figure 7: Attitudes towards aggregator sites, April 2011
                  • What we think
                  • Issues in the Market

                      • Can product providers head off the aggregator challenge?
                        • What needs to be done to draw new customers into the market?
                          • Can aggregators build differentiation by appealing to niche markets?
                            • Who are the most committed users of comparison sites?
                              • What can be done to bring around the sceptics?
                              • Future Opportunities

                                • The difference engine
                                  • Teaching people how to survive
                                  • Online Trends

                                    • Key points
                                      • Comparison sites are now mainstream
                                        • Figure 8: Types of website visited, April 2011
                                      • Broadband now reaches seven in ten adults…
                                        • Figure 9: Broadband penetration, 2004-10
                                      • …and is used by a broad cross-section of society
                                        • Figure 10: Broadband penetration, by age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                      • The internet becomes the research tool of choice
                                        • Figure 11: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements on buying products online, 2005-10
                                    • Primary Sources of Financial Information

                                      • Key points
                                        • Three in five use aggregators as a primary source of financial information
                                          • Figure 12: Sources of information used to research financial products, April 2011
                                        • Aggregator sites span class and generational barriers
                                        • Sites Used to Research Financial Services

                                          • Key points
                                            • Four aggregators dominate financial information sites
                                              • Figure 13: Choice of financial information sites, April 2011
                                            • Little loyalty among the aggregator enthusiasts
                                              • Figure 14: Choice of financial information sites, by number of products researched through aggregators, April 2011
                                              • Figure 15: Choice of financial information sites, by number of products bought through aggregators, April 2011
                                          • Aggregator Site Usage

                                            • Key points
                                              • Moneysupermarket.com leads the way
                                                • Figure 16: Unique visitor numbers to key aggregator sites, year to April 2011
                                            • Company Profiles

                                              • Comparethemarket.com
                                                  • Figure 17: Financial performance of BISL Ltd, 2009 and 2010
                                                • Confused.com
                                                    • Figure 18: Financial performance of confused.com, 2009 and 2010
                                                  • Gocompare.com
                                                      • Figure 19: Financial performance of gocompare.com, 2009 and 2010
                                                    • Moneysupermarket.com
                                                        • Figure 20: Financial performance of moneysupermarket.com, 2009 and 2010
                                                      • Uswitch.com
                                                          • Figure 21: Financial performance of uSwitch Ltd, 2008 and 2009
                                                        • Beatthatquote.com
                                                            • Figure 22: Financial performance of beatthatquote.com Ltd, 2009 and 2010
                                                        • Brand Research

                                                          • Brand map
                                                              • Figure 23: Attitudes towards and usage of price-comparison website brands, February 2011
                                                            • Brand attitudes
                                                              • Figure 24: Attitudes, by price-comparison website brand, February 2011
                                                            • Brand personality
                                                              • Figure 25: Price-comparison website brand personality – macro image, February 2011
                                                              • Figure 26: Price-comparison website brand personality – micro image, February 2011
                                                            • Correspondence analysis
                                                              • Brand experience
                                                                • Figure 27: Price-comparison website brand usage, February 2011
                                                                • Figure 28: Satisfaction with various price-comparison website brands, February 2011
                                                                • Figure 29: Consideration of price-comparison website brands, February 2011
                                                                • Figure 30: Consumer perceptions of current price-comparison website brand performance, February 2011
                                                                • Figure 31: Price-comparison website brand recommendation – Net Promoter Score, February 2011
                                                              • Brand index
                                                                • Figure 32: Price-comparison website brand index, February 2011
                                                                • Figure 33: Price-comparison website brand index vs. recommendation, February 2011
                                                              • Target group analysis
                                                                • Figure 34: Target groups, February 2011
                                                                • Figure 35: Price-comparison website brand usage, by target groups, February 2011
                                                              • Group One – The Conformists
                                                                • Group Two – Simply the Best
                                                                  • Group Three – Shelf Stalkers
                                                                    • Group Four – Habitual Shoppers
                                                                      • Group Five – The Individualists
                                                                      • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Adspend tops £90 million
                                                                            • Figure 36: Overview of advertising expenditure in aggregators market, 2008/09-2010/11*
                                                                          • Little scope to step back from the advertising war
                                                                            • The link between adspend and visitor numbers...
                                                                              • Figure 37: Adspend and visitor number trends across the key aggregator sites, April 2010-March 2011
                                                                            • ...and the advantage of being the market leader
                                                                              • Figure 38: Monthly advertising expenditure and visitor numbers, by selected aggregators, 2010/11
                                                                            • Gocompare.com tops adspend
                                                                              • Figure 39: Advertising expenditure, by selected aggregators, 2008/09-2010/11*
                                                                            • TV is the channel of choice
                                                                              • Figure 40: Advertising expenditure, by media type, 2008/09-2010/11*
                                                                          • Products Researched and Arranged Through Aggregators

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Three quarters have used comparison sites to research products
                                                                                • Figure 41: Aggregator usage, April 2011
                                                                              • Polarisation in usage patterns…
                                                                                • Figure 42: Repertoire of aggregator usage for research, April 2011
                                                                              • …and in buying behaviour
                                                                                • Figure 43: Repertoire of aggregator usage for purchase, April 2011
                                                                              • The journey from researching car insurance to buying investment products
                                                                                • Figure 44: Aggregator usage, by repertoire of aggregator usage for research, April 2011
                                                                                • Figure 45: Aggregator usage, by repertoire of aggregator usage for purchase, April 2011
                                                                              • Heavy users are more web-savvy – but not much more
                                                                                • Figure 46: Types of website visited, by number of products researched through aggregators, April 2011
                                                                              • Price-comparison sites aren’t yet supplanting traditional channels…
                                                                                • …and for intensive users, it’s ‘as well as’, not ‘instead of’
                                                                                  • Figure 47: Primary sources of financial information, by aggregator usage, April 2011
                                                                                • Use extends across all age groups...
                                                                                  • ...but it’s the more affluent who are making the most of the money-saving opportunities
                                                                                  • Attitudes towards Aggregators

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • A market full of positives – but still some reservations
                                                                                        • Figure 48: Attitudes towards aggregator sites, April 2011
                                                                                      • Researchers recognise the shortcomings
                                                                                        • Figure 49: Agreement with attitudes towards aggregator sites, by number of products researched through aggregators, April 2011
                                                                                      • A chance for product providers to head off the aggregator challenge?
                                                                                        • Transparency and education
                                                                                          • Figure 50: Attitudes towards aggregator sites, by the number of products purchased through aggregators, April 2011
                                                                                      • What People Look for in an Aggregator Site

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • It’s really not all about price…
                                                                                            • Figure 51: Key factors when using aggregator sites to arrange insurance, April 2011
                                                                                          • …but transparency is an issue for the regulators, not consumers
                                                                                            • Is accuracy taken for granted? And is a lack of transparency ‘just one of those things’?
                                                                                              • Little difference between experienced users and non-users…
                                                                                                • …and responses confirm that inaccurate quotations are not a major consumer concern
                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Key factors when using aggregator sites to arrange insurance, by type of products researched or purchased through aggregators, April 2011
                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Key factors when using aggregator sites to arrange insurance, by products purchased through aggregators, April 2011
                                                                                                • Could reviews help the information gatherers?
                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Key factors when using aggregator sites, by the number of products researched through aggregators, April 2011
                                                                                                • Making life easier for the power users
                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Key factors when using aggregator sites, by the number of products purchased through aggregators, April 2011
                                                                                                • The changing importance of price
                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Importance of price, cover and accuracy when using aggregators to compare insurance products, by age, April 2011
                                                                                              • Aggregator Associations

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Strongly positive associations…
                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Aggregator word association, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                                  • …but shortfalls are evident
                                                                                                    • Positive associations grow with experience
                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Aggregator word association, by number of products researched through an aggregator, April 2011
                                                                                                    • Time to address the perception of restricted choice and inconsistency
                                                                                                      • Inconsistency is an issue for the fans as well as the detractors
                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Aggregator word association, by number of products purchased through an aggregator, April 2011
                                                                                                    • User Segmentation

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • From appreciative to sceptical
                                                                                                          • Figure 60: Aggregator target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                        • The Advocates
                                                                                                          • The Sceptics
                                                                                                            • The Middle Ground
                                                                                                              • The Unengaged
                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Aggregator word association, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                • Information-hungry Advocates
                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Primary sources of information used to research financial products, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                • Scepticism is no barrier to using comparison sites...
                                                                                                                  • Figure 63: Products researched through an aggregator site, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                • ...while even some Advocates are wary of actually buying
                                                                                                                  • Figure 64: Products purchased through an aggregator site, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                • A recognition of the sites’ shortfalls...
                                                                                                                  • Figure 65: Attitudes towards aggregator sites, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                • ...from the fans as well as from the cynics
                                                                                                                  • Bringing in the Unengaged
                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Key factors when using aggregator sites to buy insurance, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                  • More signs that Sceptics are looking for guidance
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Primary Sources of Financial Information

                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Most popular sources of information used to research financial products, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Next most popular sources of information used to research financial products, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Sites Used to Research Financial Services

                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Most popular choice of aggregator sites ‘have used, but not within the last year’, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Next most popular choice of aggregator sites ‘have used, but not within the last year’, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Most popular choice of aggregator sites ‘have used within the last year’, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Next most popular choice of aggregator sites ‘have used within the last year’, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Other choice of aggregator sites ‘have used within the last year’, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Brand Research

                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Brand usage, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Brand commitment, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: Brand momentum, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Brand diversity, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 78: Brand satisfaction, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 79: Brand recommendation, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 80: Brand attitude, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 81: Brand image – Macro image, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 82: Brand image – Micro image, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 83: Profile of target groups, by demographics, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 84: Psychographic segmentation, by target groups, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 85: Brand usage, by target groups, February 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 86: Brand index, February 2011
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Products Researched and Arranged Through Aggregators

                                                                                                                      • Figure 87: Most popular ‘researched’ aggregator usage, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 88: Next most popular ‘researched’ aggregator usage, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 89: Other ‘researched’ aggregator usage, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 90: Most popular ‘purchased’ aggregator usage, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 91: Next most popular ‘purchased’ aggregator usage, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 92: Other ‘purchased’ aggregator usage, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Aggregator Sites

                                                                                                                      • Figure 93: Most popular attitudes towards aggregator sites, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 94: Next most popular attitudes towards aggregator sites, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – What People Look for in an Aggregator Site

                                                                                                                      • Figure 95: Most popular key factors when using aggregator sites, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 96: Next most popular key factors when using aggregator sites, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Aggregator Associations

                                                                                                                      • Figure 97: Most popular aggregator word association, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 98: Next most popular aggregator word association, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 99: Other aggregator word association, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 100: Least popular aggregator word association, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                  • Appendix – User Segmentation

                                                                                                                      • Figure 101: Target groups, by demographics, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 102: Choice of aggregator sites, by target groups, April 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 103: Attitudes towards aggregator sites, by target groups, April 2011

                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                  • Admiral Insurance
                                                                                                                  • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                  • Allianz Group
                                                                                                                  • Argos
                                                                                                                  • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                  • Automobile Association (AA)
                                                                                                                  • BeatThatQuote.com
                                                                                                                  • BGL Group
                                                                                                                  • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                  • Channel 4
                                                                                                                  • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                  • ComparetheMarket.com
                                                                                                                  • Daily Mail
                                                                                                                  • Direct Line Group Limited
                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                  • Financial Services Authority (The)
                                                                                                                  • Forward Internet Group
                                                                                                                  • Freeview
                                                                                                                  • GoCompare
                                                                                                                  • Google UK
                                                                                                                  • Halifax Mortgage Services
                                                                                                                  • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                  • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                  • Kelkoo S.A.
                                                                                                                  • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                  • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                  • mmO2 plc
                                                                                                                  • MoneyExpert Ltd
                                                                                                                  • Moneyextra
                                                                                                                  • Moneysavingexpert
                                                                                                                  • MoneySupermarket.com Limited
                                                                                                                  • MORE TH>N
                                                                                                                  • MSN UK
                                                                                                                  • Norwich Union
                                                                                                                  • Orange plc (UK)
                                                                                                                  • Post Office Limited
                                                                                                                  • Swiftcover
                                                                                                                  • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                  • TalkTalk Telecom Ltd.
                                                                                                                  • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                  • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                  • Virgin Group Ltd.
                                                                                                                  • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                  • Virgin Money
                                                                                                                  • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                  • Waitrose Ltd
                                                                                                                  • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                  • Yahoo! UK & Ireland

                                                                                                                  Web Aggregators in Financial Services - UK - July 2011

                                                                                                                  £2,195.00 (Excl.Tax)